Warrior's Society logo

The Soul Ride

By Leslie Williams

Calvin, Wayne, Brian and I headed out for Tucson on the Friday before the race. Oracle is a town outside of Tucson, with not much going on. We gathered with fellow racers at the Oracle community center and listened to the legendary Mike Curiak describe his amazing endurance exploits in the Alaskan wilderness. This was definitely inspiring, and his stories made our 100 mile race seem easy! That night, the guys slept under the stars and I "slept" in the back seat of the Expedition. We got up at 3:00 am to some instant coffee, thanks to Wayne who brought his camp stove. Thanks Wayne!

The race began at 4:00 am, and I was already stressed because my lights were not fitting properly on the bar. With lights flopping, all 85 of us hit the road. Within 5 minutes, 30 or so people, including myself, missed the turn onto the trail and had to turn around and climb a half mile back to the trail head (not to mention the fact that I crashed on the paved road while flying around a surprise turn). It turns out that the rest of the day would be like this! I flatted in the dark on a narrow single track climb, then got lost about 10 times when I missed the red tape and blinky lights that marked the trails for the next 20 miles or so. Several times I got so lost that I didn't know what to do. It turns out everyone went the wrong way at least once, if not several times! Everyone was flatting too. I think Mario flatted 6 times!

As the hours passed, I finally got on track and felt great until it heated up to the 90's. The endless fire roads reminded me of the main divide in the Santa Ana's in the middle of summer (without the bugs). The sun was blazing and the knee injury hurting. I felt so demoralized because I knew my time would be painfully slow from getting lost. Miles 79-89 were the best of the whole day, though, as I was able to catch up to and pass several geared girls. The Niner was so fun on this stretch. Mile 89 required a quick stop to take a picture with a donkey - a little comic relief set up by the Soul Ride organizers. The last 11 miles must have lasted an eternity. It was fun single track with lots of cactus jutting into the trail. It was hard to enjoy it since I just wanted to be done. The finish line was no where in sight; in fact, nothing was in sight until mile 99 - no buildings, no people... I thought for sure I was lost again. Finally the trail ended at a paved parking lot. I was so relieved, until I discovered that there were no flags, signs, arrows, nothing. Where do I go? I spent way too long trying to figure this part out, and I finally took the road back, thinking I was off course and would have to be disqualified after all that work! It turns out this was the right way back and I finally crossed the finish line with a painfully slow time of 12 1/2 hours. I was disapppointed with the time, but so happy that I came to do the Soul Ride. I couldn't catch the other single speed girl, but since Erik entered me in open women, it turns out I won against the geared girls! Calvin dusted the trail on his fixed ss in record time, and I know Wayne, Brian, Ned, and Mario each finished with great times and some good stories.


Warrior's Racing home page

Copyright© The Warrior's Society®